An ordinary town . . . full of deadly secrets
Strange things have been happening in sixteen-year-old Maya's small Vancouver Island community—from the mountain lions that have been constantly approaching her to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations. There's also a sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.
(Amazon product description)
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I am not a big fan of shape shifters. (I keep saying that, but look at all of the shape shifter books that I give good reviews to...) I love the premise of this book. We have a creepy small town in the middle of nowhere owned by a medical research corporation, a girl who has an abnormal talent with wild animals, a new guy in town with a secret past and a best friend who dies under mysterious circumstances. This plot could go in a lot of different directions.
I love the main character, Maya. She is smart and kind--a little judgmental, but she’s working on that--and her talent with animals has me insanely jealous. Maya has a great sense of humor and she has some really funny lines. I enjoy the way she teases her parents.
Maya: "Have you met the tattoo artist? Is he hot?"
Mom: "He's a she."
Maya: "Is she hot? Cause I'm still young, you know. My sexual identity isn't fully formed." (pg. 37)
The friendship between Maya and Daniel was really nice. I liked how close they were in a platonic way. Many male/female friendships in YA are fronts for one party crushing on the other, whether reciprocated or not. Since this is only the first book in the series, there is time for something to develop between them, but I really hope not. I like them just as friends.
Rafe was also an interesting character. Yes, it seems that every YA novel has a mysterious new guy in school who happens to be totally hot and only has eyes for the main character. While Rafe fits this stereotype to a T, I liked him. I can’t help having a soft spot for the bad boys.
The paranormal elements of this story are really cool. I’m happy to see the Native mythology used. I also love felines of all kinds, so it’s refreshing to have a shifter story not focusing on werewolves.
The book ends on a cliffhanger with a lot of unanswered questions. I’ve come to expect that with the first book of a series, but some readers might find it annoying. My advice is to have the second book of the series handy so you can keep going.
Overall, I give The Gathering...
Plot - 4 1/2 bookmarks (I wanted more with the medical research facility. Left with too many questions.)
Character development - 5 bookmarks
Mythology - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Q'orianka Kilcher (Maya), Zach Roerig (Daniel), Diego Boneta (Rafe)